Arts – SLR: Return of the Photos

20 October, 2004 at 18:22 Leave a comment

WARNING:Not a true story – Much stuff fictionalized for effect but borrowed from real life. Especially the names, dialogue and events. Any coincidence to any person living or dead and any events fictional or real fully intentional 🙂
— Boyd Orr, Oct-19th-2004, 13:31hrs —
The Mobile buzzed as incessantly as the rain that was pouring down on Glasgow at that very moment. It was always exciting. “You have 1 new message” said the phone. He clicked the OK button. The words Christina Ellis were in bold. His heart skipped a beat. There it was finally. After two or three calls and as many voicemail messages he finally got some kind of reply. A slew of emotions and feelings engulfed him. He did not know what to expect. What would it be? He shuddered to open the message but he eventually did. It said –
19/10/04 13:06
From: Christina Ellis
“Hey can you meet me outside Boyd Orr at 3? c x”

Very straight. Very plain. He wished it was lengthier or more chattier. Why would people not use all 160-characters in an SMS message when short messages are so expensive in UK? He always wondered about it and concluded that it was one of those things no one could ever answer. He read the message again as if to see if there was some hidden signal. “Girls!” He said it aloud. They always seem to be a mystery with their mixed signals and all. No amount of steganoanalysis could help him this time in decoding any hidden information if any. He held the mobile in his hand watching the message imagining what the person who typed it would have thought what he would think. He gave up. He could never understand girls and it is better that way. He put the mobile back to its charging dock but the message was still open. He watched it for a little while more. He did not know what to do and a lot of memories sprung in his mind. He tried hard to remember and pondered the last time they met.
— Boyd Orr, Sometime in April, Late Noon —
She was dressed very smart as she had an interview that day. He was shabby casual as always. They planned to go to a jazz concert during the Westend Festival but were late. She picked him up outside Boyd Orr building in her wee car. She apologized for being late for the jazz concert. They went to the Tinderbox coffee shop. And had tea. Lemon tea to be precise. They talked many things about aliens and courts and her work. He had obviously bored her with his inane observations-of-world crap. She handed him the photos and hugged and left.
For the summer, she went to America/Canada for a while while he was in Glasgow and he kinda missed her. So, he took a totally obscure subject that could make her respond and emailed her asking about “eyewitness testimony conflict”. She replied back briefly and that was it. He got busy with his viva and there was not much communication. When the University was about to get started, he still missed her and there were two or maybe even three phone calls. All ended in voicemails. Everytime he called, it was under the reason that he should return the photos to her and that they should meet. Now he wondered of why is it that he was missing her? He had a montage of all interactions they’ve had so far. It this were a film, they would be shown in flashback and in slow-motion.
They first met in the pub, Curlers where she was trying hard to convince guys to dance with the over-subscribed Psychology girls for the end-of-year PsySoc Ball/Ceilidh. She was the El-Presidente. All that was needed was “Hello” and they hit it off immediately if he were any good at dating which he was not. He was pathetic at it as it was all new to him because he was a simple Indian. He said he would be coming to the Ball and then they met at QMU so that she could sell him the 5£ ticket. She bought him coffee and they talked about India and he explained the “saving principle”. She was quite appreciative of it and gave him a free membership to PsySoc and he dutifully put the 3£ in the charity-kitty. After talking a bit more about India and her travel plans to India, she walked him to his department and told him her age and all. He remembered of how she was the first girl who called him “mate”.

Then it was the PsySoc Ball. They danced. She was a good host. It was a good night.
Another time, they just met by chance. She was with another guy and he felt some kind of jealousy. He heard what he desperately wanted to hear. He was her classmate (phew!) and then they all sat in Brel while they went on and on about tutors and statistics. He tried to be a good listener and she was a good chatty person.

They probably met once more but he could not remember.
Suddenly, the mobile lit up because the battery was fully charged. This reminded him that he should get back to her. How rude of him that this thought has not passed his mind till now. Ah, nostalgia. He wanted to text her back but he so wanted to hear her voice. In times like these, tossing a coin always helps. He tossed it and it came out heads. He decided to call her. Would have done the same if it came out tails. He dialled and cancelled. Gave himself some more time figuring out what he would talk. She would be in a class and he feared he would get her voicemail again. Dhairye-Saahase-Lakshmi. And he called.

Surprise! he got her at the first ring… He was taken aback. He now really wanted to get her voicemail. You see, these voicemails are like relationship respirators. They could keep them alive for a while for better or worse. He choked but eventually could mutter something that could have been meant something in some language –
“Hey!” said that cute voice from the other end. He felt safe and assured
“It is Srikant here” (doesn’t she have his number on her phone?)
“How are you?”
“I am fine. How about you?”
“Good. I am actually at the library now”
“Oh sorry. But I just got your message and thought I’d tell you that I do not have the photos right now today”
“Thats fine”
“Well, if it is the photos you want, I can bring it to you tomorrow” (he was trying to guess the reason for which she called – is it only for the photos?)
“Shall we meet tomorrow then?”
“It is really upto you unless you want to meet for something else other than just the photos”
“We can do all things at one shot” (it was a spear and it hurt)
“Yeah OK” (he was dejected and sounded like it)
“No. What I meant was that we could meet tomorrow because I have a class at half past 3 but tomorrow we can have more time”
“Sure. That would be nice”
“So, when are you free tomorrow?”
“I am free anytime” (as the Puss-in-Boots character in Shrek says, “for you baby, I could be” – back to conversation)
“Free anytime? How about 11:00 at the Boyd Orr cafe then?”
“Great. That is fine by me. I will bring the photos too. Ummm… sorry for calling you while you are at the library”
“No. I am not in the library. Outside it. Just about to go in”
“Oh. Well, see you tomorrow. Take care”
“Will do. Thank you. Byeeee”
“Bye”
Yes! 11’o’Clock tomorrow. He made a mental note and tried not to think about it but he failed. He had to do something. So, he wrote and is still writing the story of “Return of the Photos” which is what you are reading right now. No one knows the ending. All we know is that he woke up early the next day and came to the lab trying to work in order to divert himself. Who was he kidding? He took out the photos and watched them one more time. And he emailed Christina whatever he wrote. He wanted to text her to check her email and typed it out but he gave fate a chance. Just to see where it will lead to and if there is a thing called serendipidity. It is 10’o’Clock now. He did not text her. And he hit the send button of the email. But he knew what he would talk with her when they meet…
— Boyd Orr, 20th-October-2004, 11:00hrs —

(some small talk of greet-n-meet and a hug)
Once they were seated comfortably, he said just one thing –
“You know Christina. I lied to you yesterday. I had the photos in the lab but I did not want to give them back to you. In fact, even now, I do not want to give them back. Ever”
Christina was a bit confused. He was very tense. She could probably guess being a psychology student. But she asked cheerily – “Why?”
He felt awkward. He did not know how she would take it given that he is always thought of as a funny guy. Somehow he blurted it out with as much sincerity as he could muster –
“Because then, I would not have the opportunity nor the pretext to call or speak or see you again”
(they talked)

Is it the end of a story or the beginning of a new one? Watch this space!

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Arts – SLR: Return of the Photos Arts: Folk Songs – 1

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